Three held for sending 100 people to US illegally

February 23rd, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) Three travel agents have been arrested in New Delhi for allegedly sending over 100 people to the US on forged documents in the past three years, police said Saturday. “Following a tip-off, Ajay Shukla, Pawan Mishra and Gur Sahib Singh were arrested Feb 20 near the US embassy and in the Rohini area of the capital for allegedly facilitating acquisition of US visas on the basis of fake documents,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Satyendra Garg said.

“In our investigation so far we haven’t found involvement of any one inside the embassy and will extend all possible help (to US authorities) in tracing the illegal visitors in the US,” Garg told reporters.

Police said information was received that Mishra would come to the central market in Rohini Sector 9 with forged documents.

He was arrested and found in possession of two passports in the name of Ravinder Kumar and Parveen Kumar along with fake bank statements, authority letters, visa fee deposit slips, visa interview letters, visa applications and other papers.

Garg said Mishra disclosed during interrogation that Shukla was the mastermind of the racket. Shukla was arrested near the US embassy, while Singh who was standing in the queue for submitting visa applications was nabbed with fake documents.

Police then raided Safdarjung staff quarters in West Kidwai Nagar from where Shukla was running the racket and recovered computers, printers, rubber stamps, passports and fake documents, Garg claimed.

As many as 102 passports of different Indian individuals were found from Shukla’s office.

“The trio revealed that the racket of getting visas on the basis of fake documents has been going on for three years. The modus operandi was to induce prospective US visa seekers and prepare all documents required for acquiring visa like income tax returns, PAN (permanent account number) cards, bank accounts and property papers,” Garg told reporters.

“Armed with these fake documents the applicants used to apply to the US embassy for visa. They said on average they used to facilitate 10-15 applicants every month of which three-four applicants succeeded,” he added.

Police said Shukla was charging up to Rs.500,000 from successful applicants and Rs.20,000 as facilitation fee from those who failed to acquire visas.

The UN considers as human trafficking the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion abduction, of fraud, for the purpose of exploitation.

Around 2-3 million people are trafficked annually in and out of India.

The trio has been booked under charges of forgery and criminal conspiracy.

This is the third largest human trafficking scam unearthed in the capital in the last one year.

In October last year Delhi Police had arrested 29 people, including a woman mastermind, on charges of human trafficking after the US embassy registered a police complaint.

The police said the 29 had approached the US embassy seeking visas on the basis of forged documents to present cultural performances in the US.

In April last year, the police arrested Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babubhai Katara at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on the charge of trying to smuggle out a woman and a boy on his families’ diplomatic passports.

Police later arrested a few touts, who revealed the names of four other parliamentarians - three from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) (Mohammed Tahir Khan, Mitrasen Yadav and Ashok Rawat) and one from the BJP (Ramswaroop Koli).

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